On this day in 1757, the great Venetian sculptor Antonio Canova was born. He was an important artist in the development of neoclassicism. Baroque art probably found its most annoying expression in sculpture. Canova’s work is know for its refined simplicity. It is gorgeous work.
He was born to a family of stone cutters who created small statuaries. His grandfather taught him early how to draw and sculpt. You can see in the self-portrait above, that he clearly had talent in that regard. But his main interest was in sculpture and that is what he spent his career doing. By the age of nine, he was working in marble. It was through his grandfather that he made important contacts with patrons and with teachers. By his late teens, he had his own workshop.
In his mid-20s, he moved to Rome where he worked for a couple of decades. He seemed to spend the last section of his life back in Venice. All of that time produced great work. At the age of 30 he produced what is probably my favorite work, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss:
And here is The Three Graces — started when he was in his late 50s and finished in his early 60s, shortly before his death:
Happy birthday Antonio Canova!